|Mike hails from England and, after 30 years in the US, it is still obvious from his accent! He always wanted to sail "back home" but never had the opportunity. He did however choose an English one-design, the GP-14 when he took up sailing in 1976. The GP is still popular in the Philadelphia area, and there are over 15,000 active boats worldwide.Mike says we should set that as a target for the U20. [Webmaster's note: the class may be big, Mike, but they don't have a website!]|
Mike sailed with his son, Mike, Jr. in local regattas and in 1983 competed in the GP-14 World Championships which were held off Cape May, N.J. The top US finisher was 26th after the Brits, Irish, Scots, and Aussies, but they had a great experience racing at the top level of competition.
Mike learned the importance of boat measurement and specification when he bought a handmade wooden GP from one of the top European finishers at the Worlds and got rid of his old overweight US-built fiberglass model. The wood boat was 1 oz. over minimum weight, with double-ended control lines and other go fast goodies, and it proceeded to win the local fleet championships for the next two years.
When Mike, Jr. went to college, a more comfortable boat was required to persuade Mike's wife, Brenda, to become a racing crew, and they moved into a Flying Scot. They continue to race the Scot successfully with special son John (Down’s Syndrome) as regular crew. Brenda, John and Mike have been Fleet Champions of Flying Scot Fleet #163 at Lake Nockamixon, Pennsylvania for four of the last five years. And Brenda and Mike took 4th place at the Flying Scot Wife-Husband national regatta in 1996.
|So why get an Ultimate 20? They were looking
for a strict one-design with the latest high-tech features when they met
Jeff Canepa at the 1994 Annapolis boat show, and followed with a
discussion at Sail Expo in Jan ’95 where their decision was made. The
sailing at Nockamixon has never been the same! The U20 is the fastest boat
on the Lake.
After serving in just about all the offices in two local sailing clubs (currently still Measurer of Flying Scot Fleet #163), Mike offered his services to the newly formed U20 Class Association in 1995 to help develop the Class Rules and serve as our first chief measurer. He serves as a subcommittee chairman in ASTM, and his technical background (Ph.D. in Materials Science) helps to explain why he gets involved with this "technical stuff" of weights and measures and composite materials.
Mike’s U20 #17, The Ultimate Curragh, reflects his Irish heritage. It carries a transom sticker saying, "Life’s a Reach and then you Gybe!" It has won the "best dressed boat" award at his sailing club two years in a row Mike says the bowsprit gives him a big advantage: another place to hang decorations.